Hall of Famer Greg Norman reveals new Saudi-backed professional golf series

Greg Norman, pictured here at the 2021 Masters, says the series of tournaments will start this year.

(CNN)World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman on Wednesday announced a new Saudi-backed, team-based, professional golf league.

Norman, a 20-time winner on the PGA Tour and a former World No. 1 player, is a prominent face of the start-up LIV Golf Invitational series, which will host its first invitational competitions this summer.
The venture, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, pledges to award $250 million in total prize money while hosting eight tournaments, held June through October.
    "I want golf to grow, players to have additional opportunities, and fans to have more fun. My mission is to help the game reach its full potential and we know the role of golf as an entertainment product is critical to overall participation in the sport," Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, said Wednesday.
      Norman continued, "In many ways, we are a startup. We have a long-term vision and aim to grow. I believe we have a very bright and exciting future."
        Rumors of the venture have circulated for some time but drew a spotlight in February, when six-time golf major winner Phil Mickelson apologized for comments over the then proposed venture while saying they were off the record. Mickelson has since lost multiple sponsorships over the controversy and has said he will take some time away from golf.
        Some of the world's top professional golfers recently reiterated their commitment to the PGA Tour, including Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.
          It is unclear which professional golfers will compete in any of the tournaments.
          A LIV Golf Investments spokesperson confirmed to CNN that Norman sent a letter to "250 of the top professional golfers from around the world" Tuesday to offer new golf opportunities to players.
          The news release announcing the series listed the events taking place in seven cities around the world: London; Portland, Oregon; Bedminster, New Jersey; Boston; Chicago; Bangkok; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
          The eighth event -- a team championship -- does not have a venue listed.
          "Our events are truly additive to the world of golf," Norman, who lives in Florida, said. "We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while still participating in our events.
            "I believe players will increasingly make progress in achieving their right to play where they want. We will help in any way possible and will provide golfers with opportunities to achieve their full potential."
            Five events occur after the end of the PGA Tour season, but three of those occur at the same time as events on the DP World Tour.